What Is A Grievance?

A grievance is a difference between a union and an employer that can’t be resolved informally. Grievances arise from the interpretation, application, administration or an alleged violation of a collective agreement or statute.

Definitions:

  • GRIEVANCE:  a difference between the parties to this agreement, or between a member or members and the employer, arising out of the interpretation, application, administration or alleged violation of this collective agreement, including any question as to whether a matter is arbitrable.
  • GRIEVOR:  the member, members, Association or employer initiating a grievance.
  • PARTIES:  for the purposes of this article, the parties to the grievance, being the Association and the employer, except in the case of a private grievance where they are the aggrieved member or members and the employer.
  • PRIVATE GRIEVANCE:  a grievance which is initiated by a member or members is a private grievance prior to and throughout the Step 1 meeting, and remains so thereafter unless and until assumed by the Association.  A private grievance may be pursued beyond Step 1 only where the subject matter involves an employer decision with respect to tenure, promotion or discipline.

The collective agreement provides formal procedures for two different types of grievances:

  1. Unfavourable recommendation (from peers): Where the matter involves a recommendation from a peer group or immediate superior, and the recommendation is unfavourable to the member, the member may dispute the recommendation in writing prior to any final decision. The subsequent decision can be subject to a grievance.
  2. Unfavourable decision (from dean or employer’s joint-committee): Where the employer’s action is not preceded by a recommendation or where the recommendation stage was actually favorable but the subsequent decision was not, the member may file a grievance against the employer’s decision or action.

Most grievances dealing with individual problems are initiated by the member (with the assistance of the APUO, if requested), but if the case reaches the FGC or arbitration level, it is submitted either as a private grievance or as an association grievance (see sections 13.1, 13.2.1, 13.5.2, and 13.6.2 in the collective agreement).

  • private grievance is one that is processed without APUO assistance or support. Where the case proceeds as a private grievance, responsibility for presentation of the case and for administrative and financial aspects of the case resides with the grievor. The grievor may, at his or her own discretion and expense, retain legal counsel.
  • An Association grievance is on behalf of an individual or group, and is processed by the APUO. The member is assisted by the APUO Administrator, and by the Liaison Officer (LO) or a delegate. Once the grievance is assumed as an Association grievance, it becomes a grievance between the employer on the one hand, and the Association (representing the member[s]) on the other hand. Thus, it is the APUO that has the authority over and responsibility for the processing of the grievance and the conduct of the case. If an Association grievance is taken to arbitration, the costs are borne by the APUO.
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